The world is changing rapidly due to significant trends such as:
- The proliferation of mobile devices with pervasive connectivity to the internet as broadband data reduces in price and increases in availability, resulting in new heights of social media interaction on a personal and business level
- Cloud computing which provides access to high level, location independent, utility based, agile and capital light computing resources
- The increase in connected devices such as sensors and on-board computers installed in many products and devices, giving rise to the internet of things or the real-time exchange of information between connected devices
- An exponential increase in data that needs to be stored, managed and interpreted for business advantage
All our divisions are focusing on providing technology enabled solutions which add value to our customers by:
- Enhancing our current services by optimising the performance of our products
- Providing productivity solutions to help the customer optimise discreet business activities
- Providing integrated solutions to assist customers in optimising interrelated aspects of their businesses
- Providing consultative advice to customers based on insights gained by analysis of data and predictive analytics
We are further developing and enhancing online portals which enable connectivity and online transactions with customers, employees and suppliers. Other aspects receiving attention are:
- The provision of our services and solutions on mobile platforms to enable whenever/wherever service availability as well as customer interaction on various social media platforms
- Internal optimisation opportunities around inter-business unit integration of systems and processes to add business value and enhanced customer experience
Changing role of IT
Focus is maintained on existing traditional enterprise and mission critical systems where operational reliability is paramount. Enhancements such as ERP rationalisation within business units and corporate consolidation tools for improved corporate control and reporting are being implemented.
However the digitised cloud-enabled world, coupled with many IT products and services now readily available for business consumption, has necessitated additional skills requirements from the IT teams. These include managing outsourced partners, development skills to integrate new platforms and services, and the agile development of innovative applications which interface with traditional systems to provide enhanced interaction with customers, suppliers and the business. Training and knowledge sharing interventions are combined with targeted recruitment to provide the requisite skills.
Group management and governance
The IT environment is broadly governed according to King lll and is fully integrated into the group’s strategic planning process to ensure strategic, tactical and operational alignment in the achievement of business objectives.
Chief information officers in each division represent IT at divisional board level and the group finance director is responsible at Barloworld board level.
IT steering committees at a group, divisional and business unit level enable alignment with business direction and synergies across IT in the group. The group IT steering committee is chaired by the finance director and comprises the group CE and divisional CEOs. The IT function is an agenda item at quarterly meetings of the risk and sustainability committee, a sub-committee of the board.
Group IT strategy
The group has a decentralised IT strategy devolved to each business unit, headed by a business unit CIO reporting to the business unit CEO.
Group synergies are sought where possible in the following areas:
The continual development of our IT professionals is critical in a rapidly changing environment. Rotation of staff between divisions is encouraged and new appointments are made with due consideration for diversity and transformation targets.
Value through scale
Key suppliers are allocated to individual CIOs to optimise procurement and service levels across the group. Shared service opportunities are investigated and implemented where appropriate.
Innovation and best practice
The group collaborates and shares IT domains specifically in areas of new skills. Mobile applications and business intelligence development and platforms are shared and a further enhancement is envisaged in the formation of shared competency groups.
The ever-changing environment brings with it the complexities of managing information risk and the group is applying the appropriate operational and technology interventions to manage these challenges. To counter the risk of cybercrime Barloworld has updated its policies around information security, which are being implemented in all group companies.